Friday, July 24, 2015

Paper Towns

If you've seen the trailers for Paper Towns, you'd be forgiven if you thought it looked like a load of Manic Pixie Dream Girl garbage, in which the hot, whimsical girl teaches a shy nice guy to come out of his shell by taking him on a grand adventure. For God's sake, the last line of dialogue in the first trailer is "Everyone gets a miracle. My miracle was Margo Roth Spiegelman." The marketing is really leaning into the whole MPDG thing.

Thankfully, the movie itself takes a surprising turn: it does contain some of those elements, but it subverts that trope instead of celebrating it, and along the way it turns into one of the most truthful expressions of teenage friendship I've seen in a long time.

Paper Towns
Director: Jake Schreier
Starring: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Self/Less

I haven't always loved Tarsem Singh's films, but his ability to create stunning, elegant visuals has at least made his career interesting to follow. Unfortunately, none of his impressive visual skills are on display in Self/Less, a by-the-numbers sci-fi thriller that could have been directed by just about any competent filmmaker. It's a decent movie, but there's nothing in it to identify it as a Tarsem film, and that X factor was what I was hoping would take this film to the next level.

Self/Less
Director: Tarsem Singh
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Ben Kingsley, Matthew Goode



Monday, June 29, 2015

Terminator Genisys

As someone who despised Thor: The Dark World, it's understandable that I wasn't expecting much when I walked into the Alan Taylor-directed Terminator Genisys. But perhaps those lowered expectations worked in my favor, because I ended up enjoying Genisys quite a bit. It has some issues involving dialogue and some questionable action sequences, but overall, I found it to be a satisfying sequel to a franchise that was essentially dead in the water after the horrendous Terminator Salvation. This is a movie worthy of the Terminator name.

Terminator Genisys
Director: Alan Taylor
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Jason Clarke


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Trainwreck

Comedian Amy Schumer has her first starring role in Trainwreck, the latest film from director Judd Apatow, and this movie heralds the arrival of a true movie star. This is the first time Apatow has directed a feature he didn't also write — Schumer took scripting duties on this one — and, coincidentally or not, it also might be Apatow's best movie. Trainwreck is consistently funny, but it's also a personal, emotional film that surprised me with its mixture of heart and hilarity.

Trainwreck
Director: Judd Apatow
Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, LeBron James